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Black Shack Alley

by Joseph Zobel

Black Shack Alley Synopsis

Following in the tradition of Richard Wright's Black Boy, Joseph Zobel's semi-autobiographical 1950 novel Black Shack Alley chronicles the coming-of-age of Jose, a young boy grappling with his identity in colonial Martinique. As Jose transitions from childhood to young adulthood and from rural plantations to urban Fort-de-France on a quest for upward mobility, he bears witness to and struggles against the various manifestations of white supremacy, both subtle and overt, that will alter the course of his life. Zobel's masterpiece, the basis for the award-winning film Sugar Cane Alley, is a powerful testament to twentieth-century life in Martinique, with a foreword by award-winning Martinican author Patrick Chamoiseau.

Black Shack Alley Press Reviews

Zobel relays Jose's pain and frustration in measured, matter-of-fact prose. This perfectly captures the education of an outsider in the shadow of colonization. --Publishers Weekly

Book Information

ISBN: 9780143133957
Publication date: 12th May 2020
Author: Joseph Zobel
Publisher: Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 192 pages
Categories: Classic fiction (pre c 1945),

About Joseph Zobel

Joseph Zobel was born in 1915 in Riviere-Salee, Martinique. His many works include the novel La rue cases-negres (translated as Black Shack Alley) and its continuation, La fete a Paris. A noted poet and a gifted sculptor, as well as an influential radio producer in Senegal, Zobel retired to a small village in 1974. He died in 2006.

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